Millennials Prefer Practicality Over Luxury In Cars

Millennials view cars as a necessity rather than a luxury, according to a study from Crowdtap, to be released Jan. 31.

Millennials in big cities are relying on cars for quicker travel (47.4%), quick trips to the store (43%) and for trips outside of the city (47%). Suburbanites use their vehicles for a mix of commuting, running errands, and weekend travel (65%). More than a quarter (26.7%) use their car mainly for running errands, 15.3% only use their car to commute, and 15% mainly use their car for weekend travel.

New York-based Crowdtap conducted a study examining Millennial vehicle purchasing and driving behavior, exploring preferences between Millennials in both suburban and urban areas. The study’s findings, summarized in a report titled “Millennials Behind the Wheel,” correlate directly to key tactics that can help auto brands connect with Millennial consumers. 



The study calls out practicality as the catalyst for Millennial vehicle purchasing decisions and driving behavior. Whether renting or buying, Millennials are seeking a practical choice for either their short- or long-term investments. Cost, space and environmental efficiency matter the most to both Millennial buyers and renters.

With Millennials being a key demographic that auto brands want to reach, it’s vital for marketers to understand what they are looking for in vehicles, as well as what influences their buying and renting decisions, says Peter Storck, SVP of research and analytics at Crowdtap. 

“Our research shows that Millennials are buying used cars, compared to renting, and investing in practical, spacious and environmentally efficient vehicles,” Stock says in a release. “Moreover, trust is becoming an increasingly critical aspect when investing in a car. Brands and marketers can build trust throughout the car-buying journey by leveraging authentic peer-to-peer ratings & reviews.”

Millennials in both urban and suburban areas are purchasing vehicles, usually used. Eighty-six percent bought cars, compared to a combined 14% who leased or rented a vehicle. Used car sales under $25,000 made up 65.9% of Millennial car owners. Nearly 90% of Millennials currently living in urban areas are planning to buy a car in the future, while 76% of current car owners plan to own between one and six more cars in their lifetime.

Both urban and suburban Millennials base their vehicle decisions on trust, including online reviews and recommendations from friends and family.

When renting, 39.8% of Millennials refer to online reviews from other drivers, and 31.5% refer to recommendations from friends and family. When buying, 44.7% rely on online reviews from other drivers, while 50% rely on recommendations from friends/family.

Test driving guides 56.7% of purchasing decisions when buying. In those test drives, 68.8% prefer to have an expert on the vehicle they are driving in the car throughout, while 48.4% want to hear or see content from other who’ve bought that car previously.

Crowdtap’s study polled over 200 male and female Millennials (average age 29) in November 2016 living in either dense urban cities or more sprawling suburban areas about the ways in which they use and view automobiles, from renting to buying.

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